Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Donald Trump brings shame upon himself and the nation
When you have a president who is a bully, fraud and liar, and who manifests those dismal qualities every day, if not every hour, there can be a tendency to eventually let things slide. You can't react to every new insult, to each new deception, to every lie. It's hard enough to count them. Why not save your silver bullets? Focus on the truly important stuff—like the obscene and costly giveaway that the Senate is at this moment crafting, using the tax code to funnel money away from the poor and middle class and toward the already wealthy.
But on Wednesday morning Donald Trump set an astonishing new low, even for him, retweeting to his 43.6 million Twitter followers a trio of odious anti-Muslim videos produced by a British hate group, British First, that has a record of misleading and vile anti-Muslim propaganda.
The three Trump shared were titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”
Whether they actually show what they purport to show is not the point—a standard technique of haters is to take one jarring crime, one reprehensible person, and use it to slur an entire community. The Klan did it. The Nazis did it. And now the president of the United States does it. It happens to be against Muslims, but in the past it was against Mexicans, women, Jews. Any group he feels he can get away with mocking for the benefit of his followers, who thrive on this kind of thing.
Again, nothing new. More of the thoughtless hate that got him elected, that excites the third of this country who are angry, fearful, and looking for someone to blame. Who need a bogeyman to justify their fear, like the 5-year-old who asks, "If there's no monster under the bed, then why I am afraid?"
But because we have seen it before doesn't mean we shouldn't cry out in horror now. Trump's actions this morning are a gross betrayal of what it means to be a patriotic American, or a person of faith, or a decent human being. It makes our country more imperiled, and provides succor and encouragement to every zealot, extremist and terrorist in the world. It is unethical and dishonest, both bad policy and bad strategy. It is Trump's three major deficiencies rolled into one: a bullying fraudulent lie.
Reaction has been swift—British Prime Minister Theresa May denounced Trump's reckless calumny as "wrong."
“British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents: decency tolerance and respect,” she said in a statement.
That is leadership. The British leader should be joined by anyone with a voice. No decent American can let it go unchallenged. Because if we do, it'll only get worse and worse. It already has gotten worse. Today's obscenity is worse than what came before, and if we don't want worse to follow, we need to make a stand. This is intolerable.
Donald Trump reveals, once again, the small, twisted bigot at the bottom of what he calls a soul. America is humiliated that we set such a petty, vain, cruel, brainless, hateful individual as our leader. We didn't all vote for him. But we all have him now. Denunciation is ineffectual and cold comfort, but must be done. This isn't who we are, but it's what we are becoming, unless we find a way to stop it. It is a fight every American should—no, must—commit ourselves to waging right now. Loud, strong and clear.